Earlier this month I took my first class at Sugar Glider Kitchen. It’s run by pastry chef and baking instructor, Gesine Bullock-Prado. If you ever watched ‘Baked In Vermont’ then you know her as she is the host.
That class was So Much Fun. I went with a good friend who had already been to a few other classes. There is only space for 12 students so you get tons of hands on help and interaction with Gesine. She’s funny, very charismatic and knows hella lot about all aspects of baking. She easily breaks the chemistry down so that you more fully understand the steps you are taking towards the finished product.
Here I am posing with Gesine and her new cookbook Fantastical Cakes.
I went to an Eclair class. I love eclairs, but I had never had one with salted caramel pastry cream. Oh my word! The combination of the tender pastry, cream filling and rich chocolate topping was truly amazing. Give this recipe a try or come to Vermont and take a class to make them with Gesine.
Salted Caramel Cream Filled Eclairs
Pâte à Choux (recipe follows)
Salted Caramel Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
1. Using a star tip about 1/4 inch in diameter or a chopstick, poke three holes in the bottom of each eclair.
2. Fill a pastry bag with a round pastry tip that is 1/4-inch in diameter. Fill each eclair by piping the pastry cream into the three holes in the bottom of the eclairs. Continue piping until the cream starts to run out from each of the holes.
3. To ice the eclairs, the ganache should be cooled to the point where it won’t be runny. The ganache should also be in a bowl that it at least as wide as each eclair. Gently dip the top portion of the eclair into the ganache, stopping right when the eclair has just touched the ganache. Pull the eclair back up and place on a serving tray to set.
4. Eclairs should be stored in the refrigerator. They will keep about 3 days.
Recipes from Gesine Bullock-Prado
Pâte à Choux
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the butter is completely melted.
3. Remove saucepan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously to form a smooth dough.
4. Return pan to the stove and stir over medium heat. Some starchy buildup on the bottom of the pan is normal. Continue cooking and stirring the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball and the surface looks glossy.
5. Transfer the dough, now called a panade, to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until the dough is just warm to the touch.
6. Whisk three of the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium-low, slowly add the eggs to the dough. Scrape down sides of mixer as necessary. Check the dough before adding the fourth egg. If it is ready, the dough should be soft, creamy-colored, and very smooth. If you scoop up a little bit with a spatula and let it slide back into the bowl, it should leave behind a little “V” of dough on the spatula. If that is not happening then add the fourth egg, or just half of the fourth egg, as necessary.
7. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe on prepared baking sheet into 5-inch tubes spaced slightly apart.
8. Turn down oven to 375°F and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking pan and bake for 10 minutes longer.
9. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
Salted Caramel Pastry Cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream
6 egg yolks
Slash of lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/3 cup of water and the lemon juice. Stir gently over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
2. Cook undisturbed until a medium amber-colored caramel forms, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cream and milk. Be careful as the mixture will boil up vigorously.
4. Return caramel to the heat and stir up any hardened caramel until it is completely melted.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until smooth.
6. Slowly drizzle about 1/2 cup of the hot caramel into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to warm the eggs without curdling them. Add the yolks into the remaining caramel in the saucepan and return to medium heat.
7. Whisk constantly until the caramel is thickened. Immediately remove from heat and scrape into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream and chill until cold.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 60% but no more than 70%, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
2. Bring cream almost to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to soften for 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly to thicken, about 10 minutes.
Note: This ganache is from Allrecipes
Gesine had a rousing music mix on during the class. All sorts of classic dance-pop music. I bet she would love this inspiring tune from Lauren Ruth Ward. It champions picking yourself up and being proud of who you are.
“Take my hand you will understand my side.
Be my friend, woman or man, we will fight.”
Check out Lauren Ruth Ward on her Website where you can learn of upcoming US/Canada west coast shows and buy the music.